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Helping Wildlife Index

Bird Sightings - Sept to Dec 2009

Page updated - 23 November 2009


September & October - This is the time when the summer migrants disappear south and begin to be replaced by winter visitors. Common & lesser whitethroats, willow & garden warblers have now departed but the odd chiffchaff lingers and a few over-winter here. The red-listed spotted flycatcher breeds in the area and family groups collect briefly in the country park before an early departure in August.


We are lucky to have some uncommon species in Great Cornard Country Park and the fast declining and now scarce turtledove, was present throughout the summer (one or perhaps two individuals). On the other hand hobbies are increasing in numbers and one, sometimes two birds were seen over the Country Park on several occasions this summer, the pair last seen on 4 September 2009. The resident kestrels and sparrow hawks are regularly seen. Swallows, house martins & sand martins have now departed and high numbers were noted over the Country Park on 6 September (probably pursued on their journey to Africa by the hobbies which predate them!). A late swift was also present 6 September.


What to expect November & December - A few blackcaps are present in November and will probably be here throughout the winter, although ringing studies have shown that they are not the same birds which spent the summer here, but winter visitors from eastern Europe.


Large mixed flocks of great, blue, coal, long-tailed & even a few marsh tits around the allotments and bottom of Danes Hole rove around the Country Park. Flocks of skylark (20+) and meadow pipits collect to spend the winter in the field between the Country Park and Cornard Mere. Mixed flocks of finches & bunting, including yellowhammer and reed bunting, as well as bullfinches, can be seen in the hedges. A flock of goldfinches feeds on Danes Hole and numbers can reach 100 (and occasionally contain the odd siskin). Redpolls have been recorded in the past feeding on the birches at the top of the allotment field. Redwings and fieldfares have now arrived in significant numbers and these colourful thrushes can be heard and seen feeding on hawthorn.


We are lucky to have three species of owl that make use of the Country Park; a pair of little owls frequent the trees between Danes Hole and the next field and can often be seen and heard during the day. Tawny owls are fully nocturnal but make a lot of noise at this time of the year as they mark their territories. A barn owl can sometimes be seen flying low over the fields in the evening or early morning.

Some of the native birds can be seen more easily now that the trees are bare, with good numbers of green & great spotted woodpecker and jays, all of which are very vocal as well as colourful!


Debbie Ping Biologist & Naturalist


13 November 2009